Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to fly out to my “home con,” New York Comic Con, this year (have fun, NYCCers!). As it is, I’m stuck watching crappy TV shows based on comic book properties instead. I don’t know what should make me angrier: the fact that the CW’s Arrow features yet another Latina maid (with a horrible accent of indeterminate origin), the fact that Oliver Queen’s special abilities seems to come from magical, mystical Asians (when in doubt, get Asians to teach you parkour…or something), or the fact that the CW insists on casting actors that have one look – The Vacant Stare – through which all emotions are expressed as blandness.
But let me back up a second.
My first and only encounter with Green Arrow in print was during the Brightest Day event in DC Comics. I’d never read Green Arrow before, and the Brightest Day issues seemed like as good a place to start as any. I was wrong. Green Arrow was boooooo-rrrrrring. Don’t get me wrong – I have no problem with billionaire playboys who decide to fight crime. Thing is, I already had Iron Man and Batman. If I was going to feel anything for this character, there had to be something more on which to hang my sympathy, and there just wasn’t. There was nothing about Oliver Queen that I found interesting, which is a shame, because I think a talent for archery is pretty sweet.
So at first, I thought that my feelings about Arrow were colored by the fact that I wasn’t crazy about the character to begin with. Then I realized that no, it’s just a bad show.
Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) is a billionaire playboy who was presumed dead along with his father and two others after a shipwreck. After five years on an island, he’s found and his return to civilization is celebrated. But not by everyone. His ex-girlfriend, Laurel, kinda wishes he wouldn’t have survived, because he’d had an affair with her sister. His mother, Moira, sort of has it in for him, too. But his best friend, Tommy, and his sister “Speedy”, aka Thea, are thrilled he’s back. However, Oliver is a changed man. After losing his father in the shipwreck and five years alone on an island, he’s come back with a mission – to fight for the disenfranchised by sticking it to a list of people his father helped make very rich.
Similarities to Robin Hood aside, Arrow leaves a lot to be desired. The script is full of cliches and laughable dialogue. Not only that, but it does nothing to make the viewer sympathize and stick with the protagonist. The structure of the episode has the reveal of why he’s taken on his big mission at the end, but does nothing to make you care about him throughout. That could be due to the writing, or it could be due to the bland performance of the show’s lead. Stephen Amell does two things well: pull-ups (OK, that scene where he’s shirtless and doing all that training was hot), and having a chiseled jawline. Acting, however, is not in his purview. What’s funny is that I couldn’t buy him as a fun-loving billionaire OR as a changed man with an intense new mission. He just sort of…stared. So did everyone else, actually. Every scene felt like a staring contest. And then there were the racial stereotypes I mention above. They can make “Speedy” a girl, but they can’t think outside the box enough to not have a Latina maid or have Oliver adopt an Asian fighting style?
Arrow, like every other CW show, is pretty much just a bunch of pretty people not doing very much. While I might be willing to give Green Arrow another chance in print, this television adaptation doesn’t do the character any favors.
Except for the abs. Stephen Amell has great abs.
Arrow, CW, DC Comics, Green Arrow, comics, television